It appears that drug approvals have hit a low in recent years. The Food and Drug Administration approved 22 new medicines in 2016, which was the lowest it had ever been since 2010. In 2015, the tally stood at 45, therefore these figures reveal that there has been a drop of over 50 per cent. Reuters stated: “Returns on research and development investment at the top 12 pharmaceutical companies fell to just 3.7 percent in 2016 from a high of 10.1 percent in 2010.”
The FDA claimed that there are a number of reasons for this; one of them being that five cleared drugs were approved at the end of 2015 rather than 2016, which may be one of the main causes for a slowdown at the beginning of 2016. It seems that the slower rate of drug approvals will see the number getting back to a normal pace after a large influx in 2014 and 2015. The approval figures as previously mentioned, may seem more drastic due to the two-year high. In 2016, the number of drugs that were approved were either held back or rejected, therefore we are yet to see the outcome within the year of 2017.
The challenge to find suitable drugs for illnesses and diseases such as cancer, is still a major concern for industry executives, however the concerns lie in the fact that medicine prices are on the rise. Due to this factor, there is little scope for investigation regarding the success rates of drugs in curing illnesses.
Delayed drugs which are hoping to get the approval in 2017 include Roche’s multiple sclerosis treatment Ocrevus and Sanofi, and Regeneron’s sarilumab for rheumatoid arthritis. Yet, concerns still lie in the financial aspects of these approvals, therefore it really is a waiting game.
There has been a great deal of political pressure regarding the prices of drugs, which continue to soar. U.S President Donald Trump has made the promise that drug prices will mitigate in order to become affordable once again.
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